The Unconventional People of Faith

unconventional

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. (Hebrews 11:1-2).

 

Maybe you’re a Christian who is dedicated, striving to please God. You diligently read the Word, serve other believers, pray, live in obedience to those in authority, and trust God in your life. 

But things in your life don’t always go as “planned” they don’t always go like “everyone else”, or as expected, you know. Sometimes living to please God makes you look unconventional, and you feel out of place or odd. Welcome to the group of unconventionals! 

As I read through Hebrews, I realized many people of faith were unconventional in an unintentional way… their life pattern did not look similar to the world or even their own friends & family. So be encouraged if you’re going through a difficult time or something that doesn’t go like you expect it, because God does that with individuals that He uses for His purpose and Kingdom! 

Let me introduce you to some of those who had unconventional lives in Hebrews chapter 11. Things were not always “normal” for them either!  

Abel (v. 4)- obeyed God. He didn’t sacrifice in the humanly “expected” manner, from the produce of the land. He made an animal sacrifice. His sacrifice was more excellent than Cain’s. 

Enoch (v. 5)- he did not die like everyone else. He was taken up to heaven. 

Noah (v. 7)- He looked like a fool to the people around him when He built the ark while everyone else was partying, building houses, living life. He could have been discouraged and joined in their pursuits. But in the end who was blessed and who perished? 

Abraham (v. 8)- he didn’t live in one place his entire life like everyone else. He left his country, family and house, to another place (not even knowing the destination!) in obedience to God. I’m sure his family probably thought he lost his mind. He lived in tents waiting for his inheritance. 

Sarah (v. 11) – had no children like all the other women around her, and was past the age. Both she and Abraham were faithful to God, so why did she not? She was hopeless everyone’s eyes. But something unconventional happened- she had a child anyway. 

Moses (v.23-24)- did not have the usual start to life of an ordinary baby, or like the babies around him. He was hidden three months after he was born. When he grew up, he chose to associate with the slaves (his people) rather than his royal life. After the royalty of Egypt he lived an anonymous life before he was called to lead God’s people. 

The Israelites (v. 29)- they had a most unusual way to escape- through the Red Sea! And when others like the Egyptians tried to do it, they drowned. 

Joshua & the Israelites (v. 30)- did not use the common military tactics to conquer Jericho. Marching around the walls seven times for seven days and shouting can look very foolish in a military general’s eyes- but Joshua was following God’s orders. And it worked! 

Rahab (v. 31)-  tied a red cord to her window in an agreement with the conquerers (Israel). She could have been against Israel like the rest of her people, but she took a different, unconventional path- and she lived.   

And you can find more examples of unconventional people in Hebrews like “Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets…” as well as Christians in the New Testament. 

The reality is, all these people couldn’t have done it on their own- God provided the faith for them, and they trusted God’s promises. When you live a life of faith, your life does not always look normal. The unique, unconventional pathway you are on, can turn into great conquering, and a great testimony through God’s grace if you live in obedience to Him! 

 

Facing Darkness- A movie you should see

I wrote a blog post warning about a movie you should not watch. But now let me tell you about one you should see. It will be in theatres across the United States on March 30th, so it’s coming up soon! 

I cannot believe the ebola pandemic was so long ago in 2014! Now it’s part of history. But it feels like it was just last year…(I probably have a problem with keeping track of time, haha). What are your memories of that event?
I remember praying that God will prevent the pandemic from spreading and becoming a disaster. I remember doing my nursing clinicals and being aware that hospitals in the United States were on alert for any patients with signs of ebola, I remember reading posters in hospitals listing symptoms that should be reported, I remember praying it would not spread, I remember praying for Dr. Kent Brantly and the nurse in Texas who got infected with ebola, and worried that it was already at a stage of being uncontrolled, worrying we would hear they didn’t make it like so many others in Liberia.

But God (Ephesians 2:4). In His rich mercy, He intervened! I am so grateful for the wonderful ways He answers prayers. I’m sure many saints prayed for Dr. Brantly and the people affected in Liberia. 

The documentary film “Facing Darkness” is about this remarkable story of God’s work through the brave and faithful service of Dr. Brantly who chose to place his life and his trust in the Lord through one of the most trying times of his life. 

Make time to see this movie in theatres. It plays on March 30th, this Thursday! And remember to praise God for sparing us from a horrible pandemic and turning it into an opportunity to spread the Gospel through his servants like Dr. Brantly and Samaritan’s Purse. It could have been a secular doctor who went to Liberia to work and who survived- but God orchestrated events so that it was a Christian, Dr. Brantly who was there. God works in mysterious ways. All glory be to Him!

Midweek Music: On Eagle’s Wings

Psalm 91 is one of my favorite Psalms. Rich with promises and comfort of God’s Almighty protection and love. 

This song is a combination of Psalm 91 and Isaiah 40:31. I think this children’s choir has the best rendition of the song on Youtube. In England, the BBC Songs of Praise have an annual competition of children’s choirs from churches, private schools and public schools around England. I think it’s a great program that really inspires kids to do something worthwhile, especially since they mostly choose Christian songs to sing. I wish there was a national program like this in the United States. 

I hope this song brightens your week! I know it has encouraged me through difficult moments, to know that I am sheltered under His wings.

Which is your favorite Psalm?

On Eagle’s Wings
You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord,
Who abide in His shadow for life,
Say to the Lord, “My Refuge,
My Rock in Whom I trust.”
 
Refrain
And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.
 
The snare of the fowler will never capture you,
And famine will bring you no fear;
Under His Wings your refuge,
His faithfulness your shield.
 
Refrain
You need not fear the terror of the night,
Nor the arrow that flies by day,
Though thousands fall about you,
Near you it shall not come.
 
Refrain
For to His angels He’s given a command,
To guard you in all of your ways,
Upon their hands they will bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Midweek Music: My Song is Love Unknown

Listen to this soulful rendition of the hymn “My Song is Love Unknown” by Fernando Ortega.

The melody and rendition reminds you of an Appalachian style song where a story is told through music. The lyrics are deep and tell the narrative of Christ’s Crucifixion. 

Do you have any new songs you would like to share?

I added the lyrics below in case you want to read them. 

 

My Song is Love Unknown 

My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight,
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they saved,
The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
That He His foes from thence might free.

In life, no house, no home
My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb
But what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav’n was His home;
But mine the tomb wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

Did you hear this Christmas Carol?

I thought my last post would be the Midweek Music until the New Year comes around. But I couldn’t help sharing one more Christmas carol. 

Most of you probably heard this all over Facebook. The song Mary Did You Know? is one of my favorite Christmas carols. Mark Lowry is the co-writer of the song, and the soloist in this video. Together with the Voctave band, he and they do an incredible job of singing this song acapella. Their harmonies blend so well, and it makes you marvel at the beauty and capability of the human voice- the creation of God! We are truly fearfully and wonderfully made!